A probate law firm can provide valuable assistance when you get serious about your estate planning efforts. You probably think about the execution of a document like a will or a trust when you think about the subject of estate planning, but estate administration is also an important facet to take into consideration. The probate process will enter the picture under many different circumstances when an estate is being administered.
The purpose of probate is to provide interested parties with certain protections. These would include creditors. To explain by way of example, let’s say that you lend a friend $200,000 to expand his business. Unfortunately, he passes away suddenly before he has the opportunity to pay back the debt. You are not named in the will. Should the estate administrator be able to distribute all of his assets among people named in the will without paying you first?
Most people would say the answer is no, so probate exists to make sure that outstanding debts are paid before assets are distributed. If a will is used as the asset transfer vehicle, the estate administrator would be the executor. Under the laws of the state of Connecticut, creditors must be notified after someone passes away while the estate is being probated. During this process, anyone who wanted to challenge the validity of the will would have an opportunity to come forward to present a case before the court.
During probate, the executor would prepare the assets that comprise the estate for distribution to the heirs in accordance with your wishes that were set forth in the last will. This can sometimes be more complicated than it sounds. Asset preparation can include liquidation of complex property holdings and/or collections like coin collections, art collections classic car collections etc.
Ultimately, if everything is in order and the court closes the estate, the executor would be able to distribute the resources among the heirs that are named in the last will.
Probate Law Assistance
The executor that you name in your will is probably not going to be someone who has a great deal of experience navigating the estate through the complex maze of probate. This is where a probate law firm can come in. After your death, the executor and your family members could scramble around trying to find a probate law firm to help out, but you can provide a turnkey situation if you take the right steps. As we mentioned in the opening, if you arrange for the estate planning attorney that helped you create your estate plan to act as the probate law attorney after you are gone, your family will have a ready resource to tap into when the time is appropriate.
There is one other thing that we should point out about probate and probate law. A will would be admitted to probate after you pass away if you use a will to state your wishes regarding the distribution of your property. However, there are other options. For example, a revocable living trust is a very popular alternative to a last will as an estate planning centerpiece. The way that it works is you convey property into the trust, and you maintain control of it throughout your life. If you want to, you can revoke the trust entirely, so you don’t surrender access to the resources that you place into the revocable trust.
In the trust agreement, you name an individual or a fiduciary entity like a trust company to act as the trustee after you pass away. After you are gone, the trustee would follow instructions that you leave behind in the trust agreement regarding the way that you want the assets to be distributed among the beneficiaries. These distributions would not be subject to the probate process, so the court would not be involved. As a result, in most cases, assets could get into the hands of the beneficiaries in a more timely and efficient manner. There would also be a level of asset protection from the beneficiary’s creditors, and you could allow for limited ongoing distributions over an extended period of time if you want to make sure that the beneficiaries don’t spend their inheritances too quickly.
Consult With a Probate Law Firm
If you would like to discuss probate and the probate avoidance solutions that can be implemented to facilitate more efficient asset distributions, we would be glad to answer all of your questions and help you devise a personalized plan. To schedule a no obligation consultation with our firm, give us a call at 860-548-1000. You also have the option of sending us a message through our contact page.